Chapter 18


"TURF BATTLES OF THE MARINE & THE RANGER"

The hunky Marine captain Hassan is rattled by the prospect of living close to Forest Ranger Pete and his boy Brandon. The soldier loses his cool, insults and belittles the boy … and pays a price. Enraged, Pete attacks the Marine and a vicious fight ends with the soldier surrendering his ass to the Ranger. Hassan wants to make amends to Brandon who says, “There is one way you can do that, sir – something I always wanted.”


In the previous chapter

As so often happened in this tribe of volatile men, while one problem was winding down another one was cranking up.

The first problem had involved their friends Uncle Mike and his boy Larry who were visiting the tribe’s home for two weeks, where the young mechanic Larry was to work on the group’s motorcycles. But Larry was coming off a drug problem and Randy had caught him when he was about to lapse and use again.

In a towering rage Randy had tied the boy to the motorcycle and pounded his ass. But the big gypsy’s power and magnetic sex appeal had seduced and dominated the young jock who fell in lust with the handsome boss and swore he would never misbehave again.

So thanks to Randy that episode was over, and the new problem was something quite different.

Currently the tribe’s compound was a seething hive of activity with construction boss Randy in the center of it all throwing out orders. It had been decided to consolidate most of the tribe’s various residences into the sprawling main compound plus a couple of adjoining houses. This necessitated considerable remodeling of the buildings, hence all the feverish construction activity involving most of the men of the tribe and their boys.

The changes meant that several members of the clan were to move house, and Randy’s lover Bob, the other leader of the tribe, anticipated that there might be some ruffled feathers and minor ego clashes as the men staked out their new territory. He had planned everything carefully to avoid anything like a macho pissing contest.

Passionately in love, Bob and Randy were both handsome muscular alpha males but in other ways they were opposites. While Randy was the rugged action man, quick to anger and stir up trouble, Bob was the sophisticated business executive who often found himself damping down trouble among the men. These skills were soon needed when his fears of trouble materialized.

Across the street from the main building was the house that had become vacant, a recently remodeled duplex that had been bought jointly by the Marine captain Hassan and the tough forest ranger Pete, who would be moving into it with their boys Eddie and Brandon. The boys, best friends from way back, were excited at the prospect of living so close together.

Brandon had always used a wheelchair but he was fiercely independent and prided himself on “doing everything other guys can do.” His courage and determination endeared him to Randy who insisted that the house be made totally wheelchair accessible. He told the other workers, “I don’t want Brandon to be told what we’re doing for him. The kid’s real independent and he mustn’t feel he’s giving us extra work because he’s in a wheelchair. He hates to be reminded of that and I don’t want him hurt, so let’s low-key it, OK guys?”

However, Bob told Randy of a nagging worry. “The only guy I’m a bit concerned about is Hassan. I hope he won’t have a problem adjusting to a life so close to Pete and Brandon, right across the street from the rest of the tribe. He’s a real stoic Marine, always keeps himself to himself. That’s why he’s been buried in Steve’s little guest house in the hills all these years.” Bob felt it had been mostly for his boy Eddie’s sake that Hassan had agreed to leave his solitary refuge and come down to ‘join the land of the living,’ as Pete had put it playfully.

As it turned out, Bob’s fears were prescient. Hassan had been out all day working at the Marine base and when he got home, instead of relaxing as usual, he came down to check out his new place. But it was unfortunate that when he left his quiet, bucolic hideaway and arrived at the new house he found a scene of noisy remodeling activity. The contrast between this chaotic, noisy group, and the peaceful solitude he had just left, hit him square in the eyes.

Hassan, a powerfully built Arab/Asian Marine, had had a stressful day at the base among raucous Marines and had looked forward to kicking back alone in his hideaway in the hills. So in that tense frame of mind this circus was exactly what he wanted to get away from. It disturbed him to think that this is what his life was to be from now on.

At the center of the activity were Eddie and Brandon, “Hi, sir,” Eddie called out. “Looking great ain’t it? Great party place … were gonna have a whole lot of fun here together.”

Talkative Eddie was known for putting his foot in his mouth, but this one was a doozy. In one short sentence he had succeeded in pressing all Hassan’s buttons and describing exactly the kind of future he didn’t want. It didn’t help that as Hassan turned to leave he literally fell over Brandon in his wheelchair and sprawled on the floor.

Hassan lost his cool and took it out on Brandon. He had always liked the boy but now, as he picked himself up, that affection went out the window. “Dammit, boy, can’t you look where you’re going with that damn thing? This ain’t gonna work. I can’t live like this with all this racket, plus a boy in a wheelchair.”

Brandon winced at the mention of his chair but kept calm. “Sir it won’t always be like this. This is a duplex so we’ll be living separate lives, you and Eddie in one half, Pete and me in the other.” Hassan glared at him, as if one of his young Marine recruits had talked back to him.

“Fuck you, boy. I don’t want some kid dictating to me about the way I’m gonna live my life. I’m a fucking Marine captain and I call the shots. And I say this ain’t gonna work. You claim to be so damned independent but there’s no getting around the fact that you’re handicapped, you’re confined to a wheelchair and you get in people’s way. No, this ain’t gonna work. Either the wheelchair goes or I go. I’m getting the fuck out of here.”

As he stormed out he brushed past Pete, jumped in his jeep and sped away. Pete had heard what he had said and his angry instinct was to follow him, but he had to look after his boy first.

Brandon had burst into tears, and a stunned Eddie quickly but his arm round his friend. “Dude, he didn’t mean that. He gets like that sometimes after a rough day on the base. But he’ll come round, you’ll see.”

“But you heard what he said, Eddie. He looked down on me for being in a wheelchair and said he can’t live with a handicapped boy. You heard, either the wheelchair goes or he goes. It’s all fucked up Eddie and it’s all my fault for being handicapped, so fucking different. The tears kept flowing … and that’s when Pete walked in.

“I heard all that, Brandon. Did Hassan injure you?”

Brandon quickly blinked back his tears. “No, I’m fine sir. “I … I think he was just mad cause he backed over me in my chair and fell on the floor. Like Eddie said, maybe he didn’t mean it, sir.”

“The hell with that,” Pete shouted. “No one speaks to my boy like that. Fuck him. He’s damn right about one thing. This ain’t gonna work.”

At that moment Bob came in, having heard the shouting. But before he could speak Pete growled, “This ain’t gonna work, Bob, the deal’s off. Take care of my boy – I’ve got a score to settle with that fucking soldier.” He spun round and stormed out.

Bob looked at Brandon and Eddie and sighed. “Oh dear, here we go again.”

******************   CHAPTER 418    ******************

As a first responder to the crisis Bob’s immediate responsibility was to tend to the wounded, a role he was routinely called upon to fill. In this case it was Brandon who had been wounded – emotionally if not physically.

Bob knelt beside Brandon’s wheelchair and gently touched his arm. “Brandon, whatever happened here, I’m sure it was in no way your fault. Can you tell me what caused all this?”

Brandon kept a stoic silence. “Eddie?” Bob asked, but the usually garrulous Eddie was also uncharacteristically silent.

“OK, I get it,” Bob smiled. “Boys never criticize their masters, which is as it should be – usually. But there’s obviously something bad going down here and if I’m to have a shot at solving it I must know what was said. If you tell the truth you won’t be betraying anyone, so I have to insist that you tell me. Brandon?”

Brandon brushed a hand over his eyes to dry them and sighed. “I’m sure it wasn’t Hassan’s fault, sir. He backed up against me in my chair and fell on the floor and that made him mad.”

Eddie jumped in out of loyalty to Hassan. “Like I told Brandon, sir, Hassan sometimes gets like that when he’s had a rough day on the base. I saw how stressed he was so when he swore at Brandon and said, ‘Can’t you look where you’re going in that damn thing,’ he didn’t mean it.”

Bob frowned. “He swore at Brandon?”

Once Eddie got going he couldn’t stop and usually put his foot in his mouth – as he did now. “I mean, sir, it was true when Hassan said he’s a Marine captain and he calls the shots. But he didn’t mean it when he said that Brandon claims to be so independent but the fact is that he is handicapped, confined to a wheelchair and he gets in people’s way. And it was all bullshit when he said either the wheelchair goes or he goes. He’ll calm down and be back here, you’ll see.”

In his rush to defend his master Hassan Eddie had succeeded in doing the opposite, spilling the whole story and even quoting Hassan’s own words. Bob had to tread carefully.

“Eddie’s right, Brandon. This was just a flash of temper on Hassan’s part, and you are in no way to blame.”

Brandon looked at Bob with pain in his eyes. “But it’s true, sir. What Hassan said is true. I kid myself that I’m independent and no different from the other guys. But I’m faking it. Face it, my legs don’t work. Like Hassan said, I am handicapped, I am confined to a wheelchair and always will be, and I do get in people’s way. I understand why he wouldn’t want to live in the same house as me. Who would?”

The tears spilled over again. And that’s when they saw Randy standing in the doorway. “He really said that to you, kid? He actually fucking said that?”

Startled, Brandon said, “Please, sir, I didn’t ….”

“Where’s he gone?”

“He went home, sir,” Eddie said, “but he didn’t mean it. He was just in a bad mood and …”

But Randy was out the door. Nothing could enrage the fierce gypsy more than a guy who dared to hurt young Brandon, whom Randy loved and admired so much. All his boy-protective instincts reared up.

Bob ran out of the house after him and tugged on his arm just as he reached his truck. “Randy, please, please don’t go up there. You’ll escalate things and make everything ten times worse.”

“Did you see that boy in there,” Randy roared, eyes blazing. “He’s in tears … handicapped?! … in everyone’s way?!  I’ll fucking kill the son of a bitch.”

“Randy,” Bob pleaded, “don’t go charging up there. Pete has already gone up to deal with Hassan. If there’s a massive fight Brandon will think it’s all his fault. It’s what he thinks right now. Listen, he’s the one we should be focusing on. He loves you, you’re his hero, so he needs to hear from you.”

Randy clenched his jaw, his breath heaving, but after long seconds he said, “Fuck you man.” Bob breathed a sigh of relief, he had won this little skirmish. “Fuck you, man” was what Randy always said when he backed down after Bob won an argument. He allowed himself to be pulled back in the house.

Brandon looked up at Bob and said, “Thank you, sir. This is all my fault and …”

“Brandon, will you stop saying that,” Bob insisted gently. “Listen to me. What you said is true – you are different – but so is everyone. We’re all different from each other. I mean, take Eddie here … and, say … Pablo.  One of them is a tough, macho, physical guy but Eddie is …”

“Hey, wait a minute, sir.” Eddie protested. “I’m tough too. I could drop that guy any day of the week. I’ve been taking karate lessons and if Pablo and me tangled I would damn well…”

Brandon sputtered and started laughing. “Dude, I love you so much. You can always make me feel better no matter how tough things get. Give me a hug, kiddo.”

As Eddie bent down and the boys hugged Bob looked at Randy with a smile and murmured quietly, “See buddy – make love not war.”

Randy softened and knelt down beside Brandon. “Kiddo, I’ve never told you this but you are my hero. You’re tough like me and I like that. Dammit, boy, you’ve had enough put-downs in your life and your attitude has always been ‘fuck ‘em all’ ‘cos you know you’re as good as anyone, better than most. So this latest asshole to insult you … you can shake that off too. Now I can go and beat the guy up for hurting you – matter of fact I’d like to do that if you want me to …”

“No, sir,” Brandon smiled. “Thank you for the offer but I don’t want that. See, when a guy accuses me of being handicapped or, even worse, a ‘cripple’, I don’t want him beaten up, but what I can do is to prove to the guy that he’s talking bullshit. I have to educate him that a boy in a wheelchair may be a bit different, as Bob said, but he’s just as good as any other boy.

“As for the beating up part, I have a feeling that Pete is doing that right now, but I don’t want guys fighting over me.” Brandon looked up at Bob. “Sir, I would like to go up to Hassan’s house and stop them fighting.”

Bob frowned, “Oh, I don’t know about that, Brandon. I don’t want you getting in the middle of a man fight – you could so easily get hurt.”

“You see, sir? Even you think I need extra protection just because my legs don’t work.”

“Brandon …” Bob blushed with embarrassment. “I didn’t mean …”

“Well I’m going too,” Eddie butted in. “I got your back, dude.” Eddie was concerned for his friend but also he didn’t want to miss out on an event like this. He was like the kid in the schoolyard who yells “fight! … fight!”

Bob saw the determined look in Brandon’s eyes, the same look he had seen so many times in Randy, a look you couldn’t contradict. Bob sighed and came up with a compromise. Hassan’s home was the small guesthouse on the large property of Doctor Steve, Randy’s brother and therapist to the tribe, a man whose cool professional wisdom Bob had relied on before.

“OK, look,” Bob said. “I will let you two go up to Hassan’s house provided I call Steve before you get there. You’re to do just what he tells you. He’ll make sure nothing gets out of hand.

“Like the referee at a wrestling match, sir?” said Eddie, his eyes gleaming with excitement.

“No, Eddie, definitely not a referee. More a peacemaker. And you, my boy, mustn’t get involved by running a ringside commentary either. You mouth could only make things worse.”

“Sir, I…” Eddie started to protest but, silenced by Bob’s stern look, he saluted, “Aye-aye, sir.”

“We’ll take my truck,” Brandon said resolutely. A long time ago Pablo and Darius had equipped the small truck with hand controls for Brandon, giving him even more independence. As they prepared to leave, Randy ruffled Brandon’s hair and grinned, “Go get ‘em, tiger.”

“Not exactly the right tone to set, Randy,” Bob said reprovingly as they watched them leave.

“Ah that boy can take care of himself. I’d bet money that he’ll solve the whole damn thing.”

Bob pulled out his cell phone and called Steve. “Hi, buddy, it’s Bob. Something’s happened and we need your help.”

*******************************

Steve was standing on his pool deck with his lover, the architect Lloyd. And even as Bob was finishing his explanation of the problem they heard Hassan’s jeep come through the gate and pull up in the driveway. The steep gravel path down to his guesthouse led past their house and they saw Hassan storm by without a word and disappear down the hill.”

“Hm,” Lloyd said, “black as thunder. The storm’s gonna break when Pete gets here. What you gonna do, buddy, forbid him to come in?”

“Nah, that wouldn’t do any good. According to Bob Hassan committed the cardinal sin of insulting and hurting another man’s boy. The tribe has strict rules about that. And he made it worse by telling Brandon he was handicapped, getting in everyone’s way. That’s the worst thing you could say to that kid who prides himself on his independence. Poor kid folded up, Bob said, blaming himself, saying it was true, he was in the way.”

“Jesus, poor Brandon. I’ve always had a soft spot for that boy.”

“Everyone loves him, Lloyd, and Pete worships him. Everyone knows that Pete will be mad as hell and has to confront Hassan. The irony is that those two guys are the quietest and most laid back of them all. You know Hassan, keeps himself to himself, holed up in that little guesthouse. And Pete is a real easy-going guy, never picks a quarrel with anyone.”

“Yeah,” Lloyd agreed, “they are both macho alpha males, great looking, admired and respected. But there is a big difference, Steve. Hassan’s a military man, a Marine captain, used to those young recruits obeying his every word as he prepares them to fight. Pete, on the other hand, spends his days patrolling the forests and parks, protecting nature, overseeing a staff of nature lovers. You could say Hassan is a man of war, Pete a man of peace.”

“You put that very well, Lloyd, but like you said, Pete’s an alpha male – and his boy’s just been insulted. I think we’re about to find out he may not always be so peaceful. That sounds like him now.”

Steve had left the gate open and they heard the powerful engine of Pete’s Forest Ranger truck. Pete came round the side of the house and said to Steve and Lloyd, “Sorry to bust in like this, guys, but I got some business with …”

“Yeah, Pete, we know. Bob phoned and told me the whole story.”

“Is Hassan …?”

“Down in his house, buddy. But try not to …”

But Pete was gone.

***************************

When Hassan had stormed out of the house all his fighting instincts reared up and buried any shreds of guilt for the way he had spoken to Brandon. “Fuck ‘em. Fuck them all,” he growled.

His military job consumed most of his day and all he wanted at the end of the day was the peace and quiet of a small house where he could relax with the boy he loved, whose exuberant chatter he found endearing and amusing. But now he was supposed to live with two other guys, one of them in a wheelchair, right across the street from the whole fucking tribe. Now that the house deal had been made he felt trapped.

He drove up the hill simmering with anger, his jaw clenched. And if his mind flashed momentarily on the tearful boy in the wheelchair it was instantly stifled by his rage.

He had rushed past Steve and Lloyd and down to his house where he grabbed a beer, shrugged off his shirt and sprawled in a chair on his front lawn in his fatigue pants and khaki tank top.

He took deep breaths to calm himself but almost immediately heard voices from up at Steve’s house. He looked up and saw at the top of the path, silhouetted against the sun, the tall muscular figure of the Ranger. Even from this distance he looked sinister and grew even more so as he ran down the steep path in his dark green uniform pants, his muscular body evident under a beige T-shirt. And when he came close Hassan saw the rage in his eyes.

Still sprawled in his chair Hassan growled, “Leave me the fuck alone, man. I’m in no mood …”

“You arrogant fucking prick,” Pete shouted. “Leave you alone?!  After what you did to my boy? You think just because you’re an asshole son-of-a-bitch Marine you can wreck my boy?”

Hassan finally stood up, expecting to intimidate the Ranger by towering over him as he did most men. But Pete was as tall as him and matched him in his physique and the blazing look in his eyes. “You think you scare me, soldier? Listen, man, I’m not one of those raw recruits you scare shitless. That’s what you mother-fucking Marines do, uh, beat those kids down and humiliate them to toughen them up? Well my kid has been humiliated plenty in his life just because he’s in a wheelchair, and he’s tougher than those so-called soldiers will ever be.”

Pete was digging Hassan in the chest and the soldier pushed back. “Fuck you, man. Nobody insults the Marines while I’m around. Maybe your kid is tough but he’s still in a fucking wheelchair and that ain’t ever gonna change.”

It became a shoving match as tempers flared to a point of no return between the Ranger with the square-cut All-American good looks and the swarthy Arab/Asian Marine captain. Hassan snarled, “You’re just a park Ranger, dude, a fucking tree-hugger, so don’t even think of messing with a Marine, ‘cos you will lose, asshole.”

He shoved Pete hard so he stumbled backward but remained on his feet. As Hassan advanced menacingly Pete regained his balance lowered his head and charged forward. His shoulder smashed against Hassan’s stomach and they both crashed to the ground.

They rolled over the grass, over the gravel and into the hillside brush, fists flailing, trading blows and kicks, struggling for the advantage. All their anger, frustration and alpha male hostility exploded in a savage fight that tested the strength and endurance of the equally-matched men.

After rolling in the brush Hassan ended up on top kneeling astride Pete lying in the dirt. He grabbed the neck of the Ranger’s T-shirt, pulled his face up and slapped it from side to side. Enraged Pete bent his leg and crashed his knee up into his rival’s balls. As Hassan jerked back with an ear-splitting scream, Pete pulled his leg back further, pressed his boot against the soldier’s chest and shoved hard.

The soldier reared up, still holding Pete’s shirt that ripped off him as Hassan lurched to his feet and staggered backward, arms waving wildly, one hand gripping the shreds of the shirt. Pete was on his feet instantly and pressed his advantage. He slammed his fist in the soldier’s gut making him double up in pain.

Pete grabbed Hassan’s tank top and yanked it to pull him upright, tearing the shirt clear off. He slammed the back of his hand across Hassan’s face sending him sprawling in the dirt. Pete stood over him but Hassan hooked his foot round Pete’s leg, pulled hard and brought him down in the dirt too.

Their breath heaving, they crawled in the dirt and slowly staggered to their feet. The two shirtless fighters, their muscular bodies scratched and covered in dirt and sweat, circled each other warily, a Ranger and a Marine locked in a vicious fight.

*******************************

Up by the pool Steve and Lloyd gazed down at the frenzied action below. “Aren’t you gonna do something, Steve?” Lloyd asked anxiously. “I’ll help you break it up if you want.”

“Nah, one thing I’ve learned in this tribe is never to get in the middle of a fight between two raging bulls like that. The two-way fight would only end up as a four-way free-for-all. What Hassan did to Brandon was inexcusable and any man would avenge his boy as Pete’s doing now. The tribe’s rules virtually demand it.

“But that’s beside the point, Lloyd. There’s more to this than just a fight over a kid in a wheelchair. I’ve seen turf wars erupt in the tribe like this before. It’s almost inevitable in a group of dominant alpha males like this – a primal urge to protect their territory. And all that house-moving going on in the tribe is a big shift in territory.

“The plan is for Pete and Hassan to share a duplex along with their boys. Before now they’ve had their own places, each one king of his castle. Now they’re like two proud stags butting heads to prove their supremacy before sharing territory. Brandon’s problem was just the catalyst, the spark that lit the brushfire.”

They heard a truck pull up outside. “Ah, the plot thickens,” said Steve. “Bob said that Brandon and Eddie were on their way. I’m not sorry they’re here but we gotta play it carefully.

In a few minutes Brandon came round the side of the house, barreling along in his wheelchair, closely followed by a panting Eddie. “Hello, sir,” Brandon said, “what’s going on? They’re not fighting are they?”

“Yes they are, Brandon, but this is not your fault. In a way they’re not fighting over you … they’re like rival stallions rearing up and flexing their muscles. But they won’t really injure each other. When men fight in this tribe they all have a deep-rooted restraint that prevents them from doing real damage.”

The two boys came to the edge of the deck and look down at the fight in progress far below. Brandon watched in horror while Eddie felt more than a twinge of excitement and wished he had Darius’s camera handy. Eddie was never worried about his rugged Marine being bested in a fight, but Brandon always saw his master Pete as a gentle, loving soul, never one to pick a fight.

The four of them stared intently at the scene in the brush down below. Steve, Lloyd and Eddie were so engrossed by the action that they didn’t notice Brandon silently rolling back and wheeling himself away. In fact they were unaware of his absence until they suddenly caught sight of him careening down the hill in his wheelchair.

“Holy shit,” Eddie said, “I gotta go help him, sir.”

“No, Eddie, no!” Steve ordered. “Four would definitely be a crowd. Brandon is doing what he thinks he has to do. Let’s wait and see.”

“You sure about this, buddy?” Lloyd asked.

Steve winced. “Not entirely, but Brandon’s a tough kid and I have a gut feeling that the solution to this lies in his hands. Keep your fingers crossed, dude.”

******************************

The exhausted men were still sparring, but with less energy now as they faced each other. Pete moved backward stumbled over a rock and fell to the ground, stunning himself as he fell into the brush. Hassan advanced on him but suddenly heard, “NO!”

He whirled round and saw Brandon racing toward him. Reflexively he raised a protective foot and his boot caught one of the wheels of the boy’s chair. Inevitably it tilted over on its side sending Brandon sprawling on the grass.

And that changed everything.

Hassan stared down at the ground aghast at what had happened – the kid lying on his back, his wheelchair on its side beside him, wheels spinning. ‘What have I done?’ he thought. This sweet kid, so brave, trying to stop the fight, and he had kicked him out of his chair! He ran over and asked anxiously, “You OK, kid? Are you hurt? Let me help you up.”

“No thank you, sir,” Brandon said, uninjured. “Don’t worry, sir, this happens a lot and I can handle it. I don’t need anyone’s help.” He even managed a grin. “You know what they say, sir – if you fall off a horse the only thing to do is to get right back up on it.

Brandon rolled on his stomach, pulled himself over the grass to his wheelchair and skillfully maneuvered it to its upright position. Then he grabbed the arms and pulled himself up strongly until he was able to twist round and drop down in the seat. He bent down and picked his black-rimmed glasses up off the ground, checked them out and put them on.

He grinned up at Hassan. “That’s the main thing – glasses not broken. Me neither. You see, sir? I can be very independent in spite of what you said earlier. I really wouldn’t be in anyone’s way, sir.”

Hassan was overwhelmed by the boy’s calm acceptance of his situation, by his brave, bright smile behind his glasses. And what the hell had he done – insulted the kid and fought his master? Damn, he’d been a fool. He dropped to his knees beside Brandon and touched his forehead. “You sure you’re OK, kid? Is there anything I can do – wheel you back up the hill?

“No thank you, sir, I’m fine. And I’m not angry, though I can’t say the same for Pete, sir.”

Still on his knees Hassan became aware of Pete’s legs beside him. He looked up at the scowling face and bowed his head in remorse. “You sure you’re OK, kiddo?” Pete asked.

“Never better, sir,” Brandon smiled. “But how are you?”

“Oh, a few cuts and bruises that you can take care of later. Oh, here comes Eddie.”

Finally released by Steve Eddie had raced down the hill and now skidded to a halt. “Dude, we saw everything. You were amazing, stopping the fight and all. You OK? Steve wouldn’t let me come right away or I would have been here with you when …”

“Eddie,” Pete interjected. “Would you and Brandon give us some room here? I have a score to settle with Hassan. This is between him and me.”

********************************

Eddie and Brandon pulled back to the guesthouse patio and watched from there. Towering over the kneeling Marine Pete grabbed his thick black hair and pulled his face up to look at him. “Man, I’ve always admired you – up till now. But you insulted my boy in the worst way possible, and I gotta make you pay for that. It’s what any man would do – what you would do if anyone attacked Eddie.”

Hassan said nothing but the subdued expression on his dark, handsome face was evidence of his contrition. His anger had abated, replaced by a realization of the boorish way he had behaved, taking out his frustrations on the harmless boy he admired, and then the Ranger he respected and had never quarreled with before.

A proud Marine captain, Hassan did not have it in him to apologize verbally but he needed to prove his remorse … he needed it as a man and a soldier. So he did not resist when Pete raised his leg, pressed his boot on his chest and shoved him on his back on the grass. Pete stared down at him more in sorrow now than in anger.

“I’m sorry we had to fight, soldier, but it was inevitable. And so is what comes next. A Marine is a hard man to hurt and humiliate, and there’s only one way to humble a macho stud like you.”

Pete leaned down and ripped open Hassan’s camouflage fatigue pants. Then he hooked his boot under his back and flipped him over on his stomach. He reached down and yanked his pants down clear off his ass and down round his boots. The near naked soldier lay still, face-down on the ground arms stretched up before him.

Brandon squeezed Eddie’s wrist. “You OK to watch this, dude?”

“Try stopping me,” Eddie said. “Hassan’s a tough guy. If he can take being chained up and tortured in the war he can take anything.” Eddie’s eyes were gleaming.

Pete unzipped his uniform pants, pulled out his cock and spat on it. He stroked it rigid and dropped to his knees between Hassan’s splayed legs. He pressed his hands on the small of Hassan’s back and raised up off his knees. Supported by his feet on the ground and his hands on Hassan’s back, his body was arched, his cock pointing straight down at the solid mounds of the soldier’s ass.

Suddenly his hips fell, his almost-dry rod plunged into the ass and the muscular body bucked beneath him.

“Aaagh!!” The scream echoed round the hills as the soldier reflexively reached forward, dug his fingers in the dirt and tried to drag himself forward in a futile attempt to escape the pain of the rod spearing his ass. Pete pulled back, plunged in again and his cock became a piston, pile-driving the helpless soldier.

“This is for my boy, captain, for the boy you looked down on and made him feel useless. You need this, man. Real bad.”

Used to making love to Brandon, Pete was a gentle man by nature and never had occasion to fuck savagely like the Randys or Zacks of the world. Until now. He still nursed a grudge against the Marine and wanted to make him suffer. Which he did now, with the soldier’s ass impaled on the Ranger’s cock driving in deeper and deeper.

As the shaft slammed into his ass Hassan gritted his teeth and flexed his muscles to withstand the pain, just as he had during the war so long ago when Mark had chained him to the wall and tortured him by pounding his ass.

This time he was not chained, of course, and he could probably have powered out of his torment. But like all Marines he had a code of conduct. He knew he had acted shamefully, dishonored himself and the Marines, and accepted the punishment he deserved.

It was a stunning sight to the men standing high above by the pool, and the tense boys watching from only a few yards away. The rugged, macho soldier, his magnificent body pinned naked to the ground, was writhing and howling in pain, clawing at the earth, as the shirtless Ranger hammered his ass. It was a homoerotic spectacle of a handsome dark-skinned Arab-Asian submitting to sexual humiliation from a Ranger with chiseled All-American looks.

Pete’s anger was being purged, slowly replaced by feelings of sexual lust as he pounded the Marine’s hot ass. He suddenly pulled out, flipped Hassan over on his back and stared down at the handsome, agonized face, tears flowing from his almond-shaped eyes. He rammed his cock back in the soldier’s ass and watched his face contort in a soundless scream. Pete leaned forward, pressed his hands on the rock-hard slabs of Hassan’s chest … and their eyes met.

There was a slow transformation in both men from rage and rivalry to something close to respect, bordering on desire, as they gazed into each other’s eyes. Pete’s cock became less brutal, slowing down to a deep massage of the Marine’s ass as the Ranger said, “I never wanted it to come to this, man, never wanted to fight you or torture your ass. But I had to avenge my boy.”

“I know that, man,” Hassan said breathlessly. “He’s a great kid and I was wrong to take out my anger on him. Fuck, me, man. Take your revenge. I deserve it.”

And so a bond began to build between the two equally matched alpha males, a bond forged in the crucible of anger, rivalry, combat and revenge. It was not unlike the union between Hassan and Mark, captive and captor, that took root in that desert dungeon so long ago and grew into a love that still existed to this day.

Now the blue eyes of the American Ranger and the deep brown eyes of the Arab soldier bored into each other. Their bodies, scratched and bruised from their fight, were now infused with more benign feelings – the solidarity of comrades who have tested each other in battle.

They were both men of the tribe so it was almost inevitable that this mutual admiration would assume sexual overtones, and Hassan instinctively moved his hand down to his cock and wrapped round it. “You’re a beautiful man, captain,” Pete said. “Let’s put this rivalry behind us.”

He bent down and pressed his lips against Hassan’s in a churning kiss. When he pulled back, Hassan said, with a hint of a smile. “Agreed. Fuck me, dude. You’ve whipped my ass … now shoot your jizz inside it. I wanna cum, dude.”

And so, after so much pain and fury it came down to this, as it did so often in the tribe of impulsive, passionate men. Two handsome men staring at each other with lust in their eyes, their cocks shuddering on the verge of orgasm. “I’m gonna cum, man,” Pete said. “I’m gonna cum in your ass. Let me see you shoot, soldier.”

“Fuck yeah, I wanna feel your juice inside me,” Hassan groaned, pounding his cock in his fist. “Here it comes, man. Fuck … fuck … aaahh.” They tensed, flexed and heaved deep sighs as the Ranger poured juice in the ass of the Marine whose own cock erupted with semen that splashed over his muscular olive-skinned body.

After their cocks drained Pete pulled out and smiled down at Hassan. “How about becoming neighbors, captain – you me and our boys?

“Sounds like a plan, Ranger. Come here.” He pulled Pete on top of him and they kissed again.

A short distance away Brandon and Eddie beamed at each other with shining eyes. They high-fived each other and Eddie said, “You wanna be my neighbor too, dude?”

“On one condition, kid. That you stop rattling off at the mouth like you do.”

“Fuck you, man, no way. That’s a deal breaker right there.” They stared at each other, sputtered, and burst out laughing.

***********************************

Hassan pulled up his pants and the men picked up their ripped shirts. Hassan flung his shredded tank to his boy Eddie and Pete threw his tattered T-shirt to Brandon. The boys looked at each other … and exchanged the shirts in a small but significant sign of unity among them.

As they turned to face the climb back up to Steve’s house Hassan grabbed the handles of Brandon’s wheelchair. “Here, kid, it’s a steep path. Let me push you.”

Brandon smiled. “Thank you for the offer, sir, but I can manage on my own. I always can.”

Pete grinned at Hassan and shrugged. “He can too.”

So Hassan walked up the hill with Pete and the boys followed behind. Brandon had turned his chair round and was wheeling it uphill backwards – it was easier that way – with Eddie walking proudly beside his friend.

Steve and Lloyd had watched the entire scene and when the group got up to the pool there were drinks and food already set out on the poolside table. “Come on guys,” Lloyd said, “you must be hungry and thirsty after all that outdoor exercise. Take a seat and relax before you go in and clean up. There are two T-shirts here to replace your own that seem to be, um, a bit worse for wear.”

Steve beamed a satisfied smile, happy and mildly surprised that the quarrel had been resolved so quickly, thanks to Brandon’s dramatic intervention. Always the psychologist he watched closely for signs that the situation really was on the mend and of how it would go from here. He was not disappointed as he watched Hassan being especially attentive to Brandon, even overdoing it a bit to compensate for the guilt he felt for his former behavior.

Brandon readily engaged Hassan in eager conversation, asking him many questions about the life of a Marine and the recruitment process Hassan was in charge of. He even remembered that Eddie had once appeared in one of the training videos, as a young recruit saved by the captain, which is how he had eventually become Hassan’s boy.

Meanwhile Pete and Eddie talked – or rather Eddie talked and Pete listened with amusement.

Although Eddie and Brandon were old friends, ever since Brandon’s first contact with the tribe, they had never had much to do with each other’s master. And now Hassan was impressed by Brandon’s insightful questions and keen interest in the soldier’s life. He was also learning just how independent Brandon was as he passed the food, poured the drinks and moved around so effortlessly. Like so many men before him, Hassan soon lost sight of the wheelchair.

None of this was lost on Steve who even suspected that Brandon was putting on something of a show of independence for Hassan’s benefit. Brandon was a bright kid and Steve suspected that, with a view to a peaceful future, he felt he still had something to prove.

While the rivalry between Hassan and Pete appeared to have been settled, the fact remained that the two couples would be living in the same duplex, albeit in separate apartments, and thereby spending more time together. It was also an undeniable fact that Brandon was in a wheelchair and always would be. So proving that he really was as independent as the other boys, in every aspect of his life, was probably still on Brandon’s agenda.

Eventually it was time for the men to go indoors, get cleaned up and take care of all the cuts and bruises from the fight. “Both guestrooms are at your disposal, guys,” Lloyd said, “with a shower in each.” Hassan was the first to leave the table, with a departing smile for Brandon.

After a few more minutes of casual conversation Brandon glanced at the chair Hassan had vacated and said, “Oh look, Hassan left his clean T-shirt on the back of his chair.” He flashed a look from Steve to Eddie, then spoke to Pete. “Sir, can I take it to him?”

They had all noticed Brandon’s determined expression and tone of voice and Pete smiled. “Good idea, kiddo.”

“And sir … is it OK if … I mean, if I …”

“Brandon, I have a feeling you’re way ahead of us here, but you have my full permission to do whatever you think is right – under the circumstances.”

“Same goes for me too, dude,” said Eddie brightly, not wanting to be left out but not quite sure what he was agreeing to.”

“Thank you, sir, and thanks, Eddie,” Brandon grinned. “Take care of my man here while I take care of yours.” He wheeled himself back from the table and rolled into the house.

*******************************

The door to the first guestroom was ajar and as Brandon approached he saw Hassan sitting on the edge of the bed, slouched forward, forearms on his thighs, staring blankly at the floor.

Brandon eased his way in and cleared his throat. “Excuse me, sir, but you forgot the T-shirt Lloyd provided for you. May I come in?”

Hassan looked up and his face brightened. “Sure, Brandon, get over here.”

The boy wheeled himself to face the soldier, their knees almost touching. “Here’s the shirt, sir. It should fit. Extra-large – just like you, sir, larger than life.” Brandon blushed slightly and blinked behind his black rimmed glasses. “Us boys often get together and talk about the men in the tribe, and we all agree that you are massively sexy, like one of those porn movies about soldiers in uniform.”

Hassan smiled, “Thanks, kiddo – I think.”

“Oh they mean it as a compliment sir, though they all agree you’re hotter than any picture they’ve ever seen.” Brandon laughed, “Those Marine recruitment videos you make where you are the big tough captain … you could sell them on the Internet. Guys would gobble them up, you’d make a fortune.”

“I kinda think that might be against military rules,” Hassan chuckled.

“Maybe so, sir. But the other thing the boys find so sexy is your, like, air of mystery, that strong silent thing you got going.”

Hassan sighed. “Yeah, but maybe too strong, too silent.” Brandon cocked his head looking puzzled. “What I mean is … hell, kid, I don’t often open up to guys but you’re kinda easy to talk to. That air of mystery you mention is actually shyness, believe it or not. I’m not easy around guys socially, like when the whole tribe is gathered for dinner. I’m no good at small talk so I don’t say much. Don’t get me wrong. They’re a great bunch of guys. It’s just that I …”

“Just that you’re a Marine, sir?”

Hassan ruffled Brandon’s hair. “You are smart as a whip, kid. Yeah I guess that’s it, I’m a soldier, always have been – it runs in my blood and makes me what I am. It’s why I lost my temper with you and …”

“You don’t have to talk about that, sir.”

“I do, Brandon, because I feel real bad about it and don’t know how to make it up to you. See, I’ve always spent my life with a bunch of hardcore soldiers. We’re trained to fight so we don’t exactly work on our social skills. And now, every day I’m surrounded by young recruits, most of them rookies, flexing their muscles, looking for a fight, testing their strength and the strength of their buddies.

“A commander has to be real tough with guys like that. The Marines’ method is harsh treatment, talk down to them, enforce discipline. It’s what they except and they respond to toughness. I’m good at that, but the trouble is when I come off base I don’t leave it behind. I’m always a bit that way. That’s one reason I love Eddie so much. His big-eyed optimism and enthusiasm are enough to loosen any guy up, even a big bad Marine.

“But you see, Brandon, that hard-hitting military attitude is why I flared up with you and trash-talked you, treated you like a rookie Marine.”

“Oh, one thing’s pretty certain, sir, I’ll never join the Marines. I don’t think I’d pass the physical.”

Hassan laughed. “But dammit, you were right, kid. You are amazingly independent. I guess I never got to know you before, but now I’m paying attention I see that you’ll be terrific as a neighbor. That’s why I’m so ashamed of the way I treated you. I wish you’d tell me how I can make it up to you.”

“Oh, I’ll think of a way, sir. But in the meantime we gotta take care of those cuts and bruises. Stay right there, sir. Leave everything to me.”

Brandon wheeled into the bathroom and reached up to the medicine cabinet. He pulled out cotton swabs, peroxide, and Band-Aids, held a face cloth under a warm tap then went back to the soldier who was looking a lot brighter than when Brandon had come in.

“Now don’t move, sir. This may sting a little.” Brandon leaned forward and gently ran the damp towel over Hassan’s face, his neck and arms. Then he cleaned the dirt off his chest and abs. As he brushed the towel over his nipples Hassan flinched and Brandon said, “Ooh, sorry, sir.”

“Don’t apologize, boy. Felt kinda good.”

Brandon leaned closer and dabbed the cuts and scratches with peroxide, and Hassan winced. “Told you it would sting, sir. Why is it that real tough guys who take punishment in fights and bounce right back up can’t stand needle-pricks and peroxide stings?”

Hassan gave a dazzling smile. “Just cowards at heart, I guess.”

Brandon applied Band-Aids to a couple of open cuts and smiled. “There, all done. Good as new, sir.”

“Thanks, kiddo.” Their faces were close and Hassan stared into the big round eyes behind the glasses. He reached up, carefully removed the glasses and set them on the bedside table. He curled his hand behind Brandon’s neck, pulled his face close …and kissed him tenderly. Brandon responded eagerly, probing the soldier’s mouth with his tongue, building to a passionate air-tight kiss where they shared the same breath.

When they finally separated Hassan said, “Jesus, you are a great kisser, kid.”

“Something I learned from Eddie, sir. I told you, I can do anything the other boys do – even better than some.” He blushed slightly. “Sir, just now you asked me to think of a way you could make it up to me for the way you acted … and I have. See, Eddie’s always going on about how great it feels to get fucked by a big handsome Arab soldier. Eddie being Eddie I often think he exaggerates. I would love to find out, sir.”

Hassan stood up and looked confused. “But what about Pete? He already beat me up for attacking his boy. What the hell would he do if I fucked his boy?”

“Oh, Pete gave me permission to do whatever I thought was right. And it feels right, sir. ‘Course if you don’t want to I understand and would never …

“It’s not that, kid. I do want to but ...” he shrugged helplessly. “I wouldn’t know how to start …”

“You gotta learn to trust me, sir, and leave everything to me. Quickly, expertly, Brandon pushed his shorts down over his ass, leaned forward and pulled them off his feet along with his sneakers. He rolled up beside the bed and easily transferred himself from the chair to the bed. He pulled off his shirt and lay naked on his back. He put his hands behind his knees and pulled back his legs, offering his ass to the soldier.

“Ta-da!” he grinned. “Told you. I can do everything the boys do – even get fucked.”

Hassan stared down at him in surprise. “Damn, kiddo, that’s some body you got on you. Who knew? Guess I wasn’t paying attention.”

“Try wheeling a wheelchair most of your life, sir. It’s like an all-day gym workout … builds up your upper body real fast. So now you know, what you gonna do about it soldier?”

Hassan grinned, “Fuck you, boy.”

“Yes please, sir.”

Hassan was turned on not only by Brandon’s youthful muscular build but by his fun-loving attitude and infectious smile. They banished all tension, all uncertainty and negative thoughts. It felt like all was right with the world. And yes, Hassan wanted to make love to him.

He ripped open his camouflage fatigues and pulled out his long thick cock. Seeing a jar of lube on the bedside table (courtesy of Lloyd) he dipped his fingers in and lubed his cock. He knelt on the bed and leaned tentatively over Brandon between his raised legs. He rested his hands on Brandon’s chest, hesitated, then changed his mind and braced them on the bed.

Brandon smiled, “Don’t worry, sir, I won’t break. If I was gonna break I’d have done it years ago. And don’t forget, I get fucked daily by Ranger Pete, and you know how rough he can be.”

“I sure do, kid. I have the wounds to prove it.” He pressed the head of his cock against Brandon’s ass. “Stop me if it hurts, kiddo.”

“Stopping you ain’t the problem, sir,” Brandon grinned. “It’s getting you started!”

“Fuck you, boy. That mouth’s gonna get you in real trouble.”

“Spoken like a true Marine captain, sir … aaah!” He sighed deeply as he felt the soldier’s rod spear his ass and push in deep.”

Suddenly Brandon was staring up at the face of a fierce soldier, with its dark-skinned square-cut Arab features, slanted brown eyes and jet black hair. This was the strong silent Marine who dominated his recruits, and now dominated Brandon. After all the flippant talk, there was no doubt now that the captain was in charge.

His jaw clenched, his muscles flexed as he grabbed Brandon’s wrists and pinned them to the bed above his head. “You asked for it boy. You wondered what it felt like to get fucked by a Marine. Well this is it, boy.”

Hassan didn’t hold back. He had said he never quite left behind his role as a powerful hard-hitting military officer, and that’s what Brandon saw and felt now as the captain’s cock rammed his ass. Stripped to the waist, his muscular body still bearing the scars of battle, the swarthy Arab was a fearsome sight and Brandon shuddered under the onslaught of his pounding shaft.

Brandon narrowed his eyes and conjured fantasy images from stories he had heard of the powerful, handsome Marine. This was the man who had chained the blond, muscular soldier Mark to the wall of an interrogation cell in the Arabian Desert, had tortured him and fucked his ass as he was now doing to Brandon.

It was also the same man who had suffered brutal payback when Mark had got free and subjected his magnificent body to even worse torture and a savage fuck. And even now both men would go to Hassan’s house in the California desert and re-enact those brutal events

This was the alpha male who had fought Randy for admission to the tribe, leaving them both crawling bruised and naked in the dirt. And it was the same man who a short time ago had done battle with Pete in revenge for insulting his boy.

And now that rugged Marine was pinning him to the bed and pile-driving his dick in his ass. He should have been scared – and was a little – but he knew the man wouldn’t hurt him. But as sweat poured down on him from the gleaming body above him the pain in his ass got close to his limit … and then suddenly stopped.

He opened his eyes wide and saw the swarthy face smiling down at him. “Now you know how it feels to get your ass reamed by a Marine, kid. But soldiers can make love too.” His cock was now easing slowly in and out, caressing his ass – making love to it. It went on for a long time as they smiled at each other, and then Hassan’s smile got playful and he teased Brandon.

“So, looks like we’re gonna be neighbors, eh boy? I’ll get horny and come visit Pete and we’ll roll the dice to see who gets which boy. When I get you you’re gonna submit your ass to my huge cock and then we’ll tag team you – first the Ranger, then the Marine fucking your sweet ass in turn. Think you can take that?”

“Definitely, sir. I love your cock in my ass, sir.”

“And then, when you’re exhausted after a long fuck, I’ll make you shoot your load, just like I’m gonna do now. ‘Cos you know I can don’t you boy?”

“Yes, sir. Definitely, sir.”

“OK kid, here it comes.” Suddenly Hassan reverted to the savage fuck of the ferocious Marine captain, his cock driving into his ass, sending shafts of pain and pleasure from his butt all through his body. “You feel that, boy? Now you’re gonna feel that soldier’s jizz in your ass. You ready, boy?”

“Yes, sir. Fuck me, sir. You’re making me cum … Fuck, I’m gonna cum … aaagh!”

He felt the Marines cock explode in his ass while his own cock reared up and spurted cum up high enough to splash on the soldier’s chest as he drove in deep one last time.

Hassan released Brandon’s hands and stroked his face as Brandon ran his hands over the captain’s cum soaked chest. He smiled, “Well, kiddo, you sure proved that you can do whatever the boys do – and then some. Man, we’re gonna be such good neighbors, the four of us. But right now I better deliver you back to the Ranger or it’ll be my ass that’s in trouble. You ready?”

“Aye-aye, captain. You’re the boss.”

*******************************

When they joined the others out by the pool Brandon announced to Pete. “Sir, I have a confession. Hassan fucked my ass – and I loved it.”

“Well I should hope so,” Pete laughed, “’cos there’s gonna be a lot more where that came from now we’re all living next door to each other.”

Pete stood up, shook Hassan’s hand and grinned, “You owe me one soldier. Now you gotta loan out your boy to me. I hear he can drive a man wild sucking his dick. Best little cock sucker in town, I’m told.”

“Best in the west, sir,” Eddie shouted. Then to Brandon, “This is so cool, dude. We gotta talk.”

While they compared notes Steve quietly called Bob who anxiously asked how things were going. “Better than I could ever have expected, buddy. Hey, is that duplex habitable yet?”

“More or less. Furniture’s kinda piled in but it can be sorted out.”

“Great, just as long as the beds are there.”

“That good, uh?” Bob laughed. He reassured Steve that the two men and their boys could move in right away, then hung up and turned to the twins who were sitting with him in the new house planning menus.

“Well, seems like another crisis is over, guys. I was apprehensive about all this moving but it seems things are falling into place. This new house is perfect for Randy and me, and with the hedge removed now I have a clear view of your kitchen and apartment above it. Looks like Pete, Hassan and their boys will be sleeping in the duplex tonight, and Zack, Miguel, Pablo and their boys will be sharing the whole second floor. It’s quite a big deal, and you know what it means?”

The twins smiled at each other and said together. “A party?”

“Well, you know the tribe has to celebrate a big new thing like this. But guys, I’m real worried about all the extra work for you. A gathering of the clan will be big this time. And now that more of the tribe is living here or across the street, there will be even more guys to feed each day. Boys, you have to hire an assistant, at least part-time.”

Kyle and Kevin exchanged conspiratorial looks. “We’re way ahead of you, sir,” Kyle said. “Actually,” Kevin continued, “we already have someone in mind. At the grocery store there’s a young kid who works in the produce section – a cute young redhead, just turned eighteen.”

Kyle took over. “He talks to us a lot, not only about produce, but everything associated with food and cuisine, and he has some really good ideas. His problem is he only works there part time and he’s looking for additional part-time work. We have a feeling he might be the one.”

“Great. But, er, you don’t think he’d be kind of overwhelmed by working here surrounded by a bunch of guys. Things can get pretty raunchy around here, as you know.”

“We thought of that, sir, and we’re not sure,” Kevin said. “The boy is certainly wet behind the ears, seems to have not much of a life and never mentions a sex life. But he’s easy-going with us and seems curious about a lot of things. We wouldn’t push him into anything, of course, and we’d have to feel our way. But we would like to give it a try.”

“Well, I trust you guys’ instincts, always have. Tell you what. Why don’t you hire him first for the big party, let him get his feet wet there, see how he does. Or do you think that would be throwing him in at the deep end.

“Well, sir,” Kyle laughed, “we all pretty much jumped in at the deep end. And we didn’t drown.”

“Let’s give it a go then, kids,” Bob smiled. “Something new for you, a boy of your own. Should be interesting.”

**************************************

TO BE CONTINUED in “A Trial Of Strength” – Chapter 419


Rob Williams
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